Lillian Roberts Dir. of Dist. Council 37, Afscme ex rel. Situated v. Cuomo, 1:12-CV-0046 (MAD/CFH)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
Writing for the CourtMae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge
Citation339 F.Supp.3d 36
Parties Lillian ROBERTS as Executive Director of District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Dennis Ifill, as President of the Rent Regulation Services Unit Employees, Local 1359, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, The Rent Regulation Services Unit Employees, Local 1359, Clifford Koppelman, as President of the Court, County and Department of Probation Employees Unit, Local 1070, The Court, County, and Department of Probation Employees Unit, Local 1070 and Mildred Brown, Shanomae Wiltshire, Norma Galloway, Charmaine Hardaway, Maurice Bouyea, Steven Schwartz, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs, v. Andrew M. CUOMO, as Governor of the State of New York; Patricia A. Hite, as Acting Commissioner, New York State Civil Service Department; Caroline W. Ahl and J. Dennis Hanrahan, as Commissioners of the New York State Civil Service Commission; Robert L. Megna, as Director of the New York State Division of the Budget ; and Thomas P. DiNapoli, as Comptroller of the State of New York, Defendants.
Decision Date24 September 2018
Docket Number1:12-CV-0046 (MAD/CFH)

339 F.Supp.3d 36

Lillian ROBERTS as Executive Director of District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Dennis Ifill, as President of the Rent Regulation Services Unit Employees, Local 1359, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, The Rent Regulation Services Unit Employees, Local 1359, Clifford Koppelman, as President of the Court, County and Department of Probation Employees Unit, Local 1070, The Court, County, and Department of Probation Employees Unit, Local 1070 and Mildred Brown, Shanomae Wiltshire, Norma Galloway, Charmaine Hardaway, Maurice Bouyea, Steven Schwartz, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Andrew M. CUOMO, as Governor of the State of New York; Patricia A. Hite, as Acting Commissioner, New York State Civil Service Department; Caroline W. Ahl and J. Dennis Hanrahan, as Commissioners of the New York State Civil Service Commission; Robert L. Megna, as Director of the New York State Division of the Budget ; and Thomas P. DiNapoli, as Comptroller of the State of New York, Defendants.

1:12-CV-0046 (MAD/CFH)

United States District Court, N.D. New York.

Signed September 24, 2018


339 F.Supp.3d 43

DISTRICT COUNCIL 37, OF COUNSEL: ERICA C. GRAY-NELSON, ESQ., XIMENA CASTRO, ESQ., 125 Barclay Street, New York, New York 10007, Attorneys for Plaintiffs

OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, OF COUNSEL: HELENA LYNCH, AAG, RICHARD LOMBARDO, AAG, The Capitol, Albany, New York 12224, Attorneys for Defendants

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:

I. INTRODUCTION1

In a complaint dated January 10, 2012, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants unilaterally

339 F.Supp.3d 44

increased the percentage of contributions that Plaintiffs, active and retired employees, are required to pay for health insurance benefits in retirement and, thereby, violated the Contracts and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution, impaired Plaintiffs' contractual rights under the terms of their Collective Bargaining Agreement, and violated state law. See Dkt. No. 1.

Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

A. The Parties

Plaintiff Lillian Roberts was at the relevant times the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Plaintiff District Council 37, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO ("DC 37"). See Dkt. No. 87 at ¶ 1. Plaintiff DC 37 is a not-for-profit corporation and is an employee organization that is the collective bargaining representative for the Rent Regulation Services Unit ("RRSU") and Court Unit employees (the "Court Unit"), who receive benefits through the New York State Health Insurance Program ("NYSHIP"). See id. at ¶ 2. Plaintiff Dennis Ifill was, at the time the complaint was filed, the President of Local 1359 and an active New York State employee. See id. at ¶ 3. Plaintiff Clifford Koppelman was, at the time of the filing of the complaint, the President of Local 1070, the Court, County and Department of Probation Employees Unit. See id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiffs Mildred Brown and Maurice Bouyea were, at the time the complaint was filed, retired former New York State Employees and members of the RRSU unit receiving dependent health insurance benefits through NYSHIP. See id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiffs Shanomae Wiltshire, Norma Galloway, and Charmaine Hardaway were, at the time the complaint was filed, retired former New York State employees and members of the RRSU unit receiving individual health insurance benefits through NYSHIP. See id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff Steven Schwartz was, at the time the complaint was filed, a retired former New York State employee and member of the Court Unit receiving individual health insurance benefits through NYSHIP. See id. at ¶ 7.

Defendant Andrew M. Cuomo is the Governor of the State of New York. See id. at ¶ 9. Defendant Patricia A. Hite was, in 2011, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service. See id. at ¶ 10.2 Defendants Caroline W. Ahl and J. Dennis Hanrahan were, in 2011, the members of the Civil Service Commission. See id. at ¶ 11. Defendant Robert Megna was, in 2011, the Director of the New York State Division of the Budget. See id. at ¶ 12. Defendant Thomas P. DiNapoli is the Comptroller of the State of New York. See id. at ¶ 13.

B. Collective Bargaining Agreement in Effect in 2011 Between New York and RRSU

During 2011, the State of New York and the RRSU were parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") for the period April 2, 2007, through April 1, 2011 (the "2007-11 RRSU CBA").See

339 F.Supp.3d 45

Dkt. No. 83-2 at ¶ 14. Section 9.1 of the 2007-11 RRSU CBA provided that "[t]he State shall continue to provide all the forms and extent of coverage as defined by the contracts in force on April 1, 2007 with the State's health insurance carriers unless specifically modified or replaced pursuant to this Agreement." Id. at ¶ 15. Section 9.4 of the 2007-11 RRSU CBA provided: "The State agrees to pay 90 percent of the cost of individual coverage and 75 percent of the cost of dependent coverage toward the hospital/medical/mental health and substance abuse/prescription drug components provided under the Empire Plan." Id. at ¶ 18. Additionally, Section 9.2(i) of the 2007-11 RRSU CBA provided that "[t]he unremarried spouse or domestic partner who has not acquired another domestic partner and otherwise eligible dependent children of an employee, who retires after April 1, 1979, with ten (10), or more years of active State service and subsequently dies, shall be permitted to continue coverage in the health insurance program with payment at the same contribution rates as required of active employees for the same coverage." Id. at ¶ 19.

C. CBAs in Effect 1982-2011 Between New York and RRSU

From 1982 to 2011, the various collective bargaining agreements between the State and RRSU contained substantially the same provisions as discussed above. See Dkt. No. 83-2 at ¶¶ 20-36.

D. CBAs Between the State and the Court Unit

During 2011, the State of New York and the Court Unit were parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") for the period April 1, 2007, through March 31, 2011 (the "2007-11 Court Unit CBA"). See Dkt. No. 83-2 at ¶ 37. Section 8.1 of the 2007-11 Court Unit CBA provided: "The State shall continue to provide health and prescription drug benefits administered by the Department of Civil Service. Employees enrolled in such plans shall receive health and prescription drug benefits to the same extent, at the same contribution level and in the same form and with the same co-payment structure that applies to the majority of represented Executive Branch employees covered by such plans." Id. at ¶ 38. All of the Court Unit CBAs from 1982 through 2011 contained this language. See id. at ¶ 39.

E. CBAs Between the State and CSEA and the State and PEF in 2011

On June 22, 2011, the Governor issued a press release announcing that the State had reached a five-year labor agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association ("CSEA"). See Dkt. No. 83-2 at ¶ 40. The press release announced a two percent increase in the premium contribution rate for Grade 9 employees and below, and a six percent increase for Grade 10 and above. See id.

The 2011-16 CBA between CSEA and the State was signed on August 15, 2011, and covered the periods between April 2, 2011 and April 1, 2016. See id. at ¶ 41. Section 9.14 of the 2011-16 CSEA CBA provides as follows:

The State agrees to pay 90 percent of the cost of individual coverage and 75 percent of the cost of dependent coverage toward the hospital/medical/mental health and substance abuse components provided under the Empire Plan. Effective October
339 F.Supp.3d 46
1, 2011 for employees in a title Salary Grade 9 or below, the State agrees to pay 88 percent of the cost of individual coverage and 73 percent of the cost of dependent coverage toward the hospital/medical/mental health and substance abuse components provided under the Empire Plan. Effective October 1, 2011 for employees in a title Salary Grade 10 and above or an employee equated to a position title Salary Grade 10 and above the State agrees to pay 84 percent of the cost of individual coverage and 69 percent of the cost of dependent coverage toward the hospital/medical/mental health and substance abuse components provided under the Empire Plan.

Id.

Article 50 of the 2011-16 CSEA CBA, entitled "Conclusion of Collective Negotiations," provided:

This Agreement is the entire agreement between the State and CSEA, terminates all prior agreements and understandings and concludes all collective negotiations during its term. During the term of this Agreement, neither party will unilaterally seek to modify its terms through legislation or other means. The parties agree to support jointly any legislation or administrative action necessary to implement
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1 practice notes
  • Fitch v. State, Civil PJM 18-2817
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • June 9, 2022
    ...to provide benefits... without creating any contractual... entitlement thereto in present or future retirees”); Roberts v. Cuomo, 339 F.Supp.3d 36, 77 (N.D.N.Y. 2018) (collective bargaining agreements fixing contribution rate for retiree health benefit did not create contractual right to in......
1 cases
  • Fitch v. State, Civil PJM 18-2817
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • June 9, 2022
    ...to provide benefits... without creating any contractual... entitlement thereto in present or future retirees”); Roberts v. Cuomo, 339 F.Supp.3d 36, 77 (N.D.N.Y. 2018) (collective bargaining agreements fixing contribution rate for retiree health benefit did not create contractual right to in......

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